Twenty Hornets Games to Watch in 2010-11

Twenty Hornets Games to Watch in 2010-11
By: Jim Eichenhofer,

August 10, 2010

With Tuesday’s official release of the 2010-11 NBA schedule, it’s time for Hornets fans to get out their calendars and start jotting down a few important dates. While strongly recommends watching all 82 of the team’s games during this upcoming season, the following is a list of 20 Hornets games that are “can’t miss” in 2010-11:

Wednesday, Oct. 27 vs. Milwaukee (Opening Night)
The Bucks, one of the NBA’s biggest surprise teams last season, will visit New Orleans in Monty Williams’ official debut as the ninth head coach in Hornets history. It also could mark the first official game action for rookie first-round picks Craig Brackins and Quincy Pondexter.

Friday, Oct. 29 vs. Denver
In a rematch of the Hornets’ most recent postseason series in 2009, high-scoring forward Carmelo Anthony leads the Nuggets into New Orleans for the second of two tough home tilts to open the campaign.

Saturday, Oct. 30 at San Antonio
The Hornets’ initial road game of 2010-11 will be Monty Williams’ first meeting against one of his mentors, Gregg Popovich. Williams played for Popovich with the Spurs during the 1995-96 season and was brought back to the San Antonio organization by Popovich in 2004-05 to learn the coaching ropes.

Friday, Nov. 5 vs. Miami
The only regular season appearance in New Orleans by the Heat’s new star-studded trio of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh will take place early, in game No. 5 for the Hornets.

Tuesday, Nov. 9 vs. L.A. Clippers
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, Blake Griffin was supposed to make his NBA debut last season, but he sustained a season-ending injury in a preseason game vs. New Orleans. As a result, this will be the first time he plays a game in the Big Easy.

Saturday, Nov. 13 vs. Portland
Monty Williams spent the previous five NBA seasons as an assistant coach for the Trail Blazers. This will be the Hornets’ first matchup of the season against Portland and another Williams mentor, Blazers head coach Nate McMillan.

Friday, Nov. 19 vs. Cleveland
This game obviously lost significant star power on the court in July as a result of “The Decision,” but it still remains noteworthy. Byron Scott is the new head coach of the Cavaliers and will make his lone visit to New Orleans in the Hornets’ final pre-Thanksgiving home game.

Wednesday, Nov. 24 at Utah
Always an attention-getter from the media, fellow 2005 lottery picks Chris Paul and Deron Williams match up for the first time on the night before Thanksgiving.

Friday, Dec. 10 vs. Oklahoma City
The NBA’s reigning scoring champion, Kevin Durant, and the Thunder make their first appearance of the season in the Crescent City.

Monday, Dec. 13 at Miami
The Hornets pay their only visit of the regular season to the home of the nominal favorites to win the 2010-11 NBA title.

Wednesday, Dec. 29 vs. L.A. Lakers
Based on the league’s rotating schedule, the two-time NBA defending champions made only one trip to New Orleans last season, but will visit twice in 2010-11. The other matchup in NOLA is Feb. 5.

Friday, Dec. 31 at Boston
The Hornets and the defending Eastern Conference champions wrap up the 2010 calendar year with a 2 p.m. (Central) matinee in Massachusetts.

Saturday, Jan. 1 at Washington
An extreme amount of point-guard talent will be on display when Chris Paul, Darren Collison and 2010’s No. 1 overall draft pick John Wall take the floor on New Year’s Day.

Wednesday, Jan. 5 vs. Golden State
Don’t be surprised if the scoreboard operator is busy during this first meeting between the Hornets and Warriors of 2010-11. These teams racked up final scores of 135-131 and 131-121 in a pair of March games.

Wednesday, Jan. 12 vs. Orlando
The Magic’s visit to New Orleans last season was a memorable victory for the Hornets, featuring a big second-half comeback. This will be the lone stop in Louisiana this season for Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis.

Saturday, Feb. 12 vs. Chicago
Another high-caliber matchup between point guards in the Hive, when Derrick Rose and the revamped Bulls (featuring pickups Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer) face Chris Paul and the Hornets.

Sunday, March 6 at Cleveland (ESPN)
The trip to Cleveland – part of a five-game road trip for New Orleans – is the lone scheduled national TV appearance of the season for the Hornets.

Wednesday, March 16 vs. Phoenix
In a bit of a scheduling fluke, Steve Nash and the Suns make both of their trips to NOLA during the final 30 days of the regular season, with this being the first.

Saturday, March 19 vs. Boston
Always a big draw, the Celtics make their lone appearance in New Orleans. Incidentally, this game will take place on the first weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The New Orleans Arena is hosting the third and fourth round of March Madness in 2011 (March 24-27).

Monday, April 11 vs. Utah
The franchise that called New Orleans home back in the 1970s will be the guest during the Hornets’ FANtastic FANale, the final regular season home game of 2010-11.

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